Price paid: £ 250
Purchased from: DV247 - Digital Village
Sound — 10
Played through a Line 6 TonePort GX and Pod Farm. Amp models are pretty much of the nu-metal/pop-punk/metalcore ilk - Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier through Line 6 4x12's with tube screamer. Bridge pickup provides fat tone that also allows triplets to sound out individually even when palm muted. Perfect for metalcore. But for outright chugging, there's very good clarity in the pickups. I think my batteries may need replacing because my Schecter Blackhawk w/Seymour Duncan Invader bridge as well as the RG320 sound louder. Neck pickup isn't as bright as say a passive powersound on the RG320 but is thick nonetheless. I've played it through clean settings and don't get ANY noise from it whatsoever. In short, I was impressed with the sound. The sustain is just as good as the RG320 but would have enhanced if it wasn't an archtop. The guitar, despite being mahogany is deceptively light! For my sort of music (Pop Punk/Screamo/generic metalcore/metal and the odd clean classical) it does the job VERY nicely. The right guitar fro the right job. Need to see how well it sounds through a proper tube amp though.
Overall Impression — 9
I bought this guitar because I always loved the shape and playability of the RG's. However, I also like natural guitars as well as archtops. I remember playing on some SZ's S and SA's in the past and fancied it if they did an RG in an archtop! This fitted the bill... and for the price, it's an absolute bargain! In my arsenal, this guitar is set to replace the Schecter Blackhawk in its duties because it plays well and is better finished. After 5 minutes of playing with it, I was impressed and instantly took a Shine to it. It plays very nice sitting down or standing up and was surprised as to how light it is compared to the RG. The archtop IS thinner than Standard RGs, but the denser mahogany brigs back some of that lost sustain. I wasn't expecting much by way of features but was overwhelmed by performance. Anybody LOOKING for a dual humbucking, active pickup 24 fret guitar to play contemporary metal/hard rock etc ought to seriously consider this. It's got more cards up its sleeve than what people make it out to have. 2 thumbs up from me.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't really play live but I think it ought to withstand a live performance with everything seemingly sturdily built. I know the electroplated finishes on the hardware wear off after 2-3 years as it oxidises or reacts with the salts in your skin so I'll be expecting it. It's a relatively simple setup with the guitar so as long as I treat it with oil (I've resorted to using olive oil purely because it's what I have at home on the body) and replacing the batteries for the pickups every so often, I'd have no qualms about its durability or reliability so I'll give it a full 10 marks - I don't think ANYTHING WILL go Wrong with this.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Neck and hardware on the whole was very good but wasn't impressed with the body. The cutaways weren't finished properly with the edges looking rather chamfered rather than straight when looking at it face on. Form a distance it's not noticeable but when I'm looking at it side by side against my korean RG320, it's in a slightly lower league in terms of body finish. Being from Indonesia myself, my dad's got furniture made from teak and mahogany back home - this guitar's finishing is similar to the furniture. Some few minor rough edges that slipped through quality control - I suppose the rejection rates are a lot lower for readily produced mid-range guitars like this. I wish the shape and forming was as good as the koreans which stopped this getting a higher mark. Neck, however is impeccable. Smooth, blemish free. The binding looks and feels smooth. The nut is cut nicely (unlike my Schecter blackhawk which was cut too low causing annoying fret buzzing on 1st -3rd frets!) and the frets themselves are nicely rounded off and finished. Battery cavity is finished well as is the holes for the strings. Hardware - Faultless. The minor imperfections with the craftsmanship on the body is what holds this from getting an 8 or a 9. Mahogany oil finish was the main reason why I got this guitar - I love the natural looks but unfortunately doesn't mask any workmanship flaws.
Features — 8
Bought it as nearly new 2009 model from Indonesia. It was pretty much unplayed and it its original packaging so I managed to save a good 50 quid. I won't bore you with the details but I was in the market for a Hard Tail, twin humbucking guitar to complement my 2002 Korean RG320FA and featurewise, it's a lot more simpler, but more versatile. Fixed bridge allows me to change tuning whenever without having to worry about setting the tension on the floyd rose. First guitar I've played with active pickups so they're growing on me. Overall, I won't really say that this is the most versatile guitar, nor is it packed with the most features. There IS some degree of tone manipulation that can be had from the 2 pots and 3 way Switch so I don't think pickup configuration is as bad as people make it out to be. Tuners are great with a smooth action that keeps the strings in tune every time I pick it up. Came Standard with D'Adarios. Neck feels fast and flat, but feels different to the RG320 despite both of them being Wizard 2's. The RGA's neck feels a bit squarer. Needless to say the binding is very smooth and the frets are finished well. Mahogany body with stained finish is simplicity in itself! For features I'll give it a 8 because my RG320 has more flexibility in terms of tone and has a Floyd Rose (not that I use it much)